Adding an Expandable Report Details Window In SSRS

One of the most challenging things report writers face is getting all the elements that users want to actually fit on a report. I know I’m constantly battling for more space by trying to make other things smaller. Since report real-estate is somewhat precious, having a “Report Details” section that tells the user about the report they’re looking at often falls by the wayside. A report Details section could contain things like who actually owns the report, details about the calculations used in the report, and who they can contact if they have questions. One way to add this information to the report without having to take up a bunch of space is to put it in a collapsible window within the report, and have it hidden by default. Below we’ll walk through the steps of how we might accomplish this.

  1. Open your report and add a textbox to your report
  2. Type in the text “Report Details” into the new textbox
  3. Note the name of the textbox that you just added….you’re going to need it later. You can find the name of the textbox by clicking on it and then finding the name property in the properties window, or right clicking on the textbox and then going to “Text Box Properties…” in my case the textbox is named “Textbox3”

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  4. Add a “Rectangle” next to your textbox
  5. Add as many textboxes inside of your rectangle as you want and type in whatever information you deem important for the users to know. In my quick example I’ve mocked up the following information:

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  6. Now that you’ve got your info added, right click on the rectangle object you added and select “Rectangle Properties” from the dropdown
  7. Select “Visibility” from the options on the left
  8. In the section labeled “ When the report is initially run” select “Hide”.
  9. Place a check in the box labeled “Display can be toggled by this report item”
  10. In the dropdown below the checkbox select the name of the textbox that you typed “Report Details” in. In my case it was “Textbox3”

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  11. Click “OK”
  12. Run the report

The report should run and automatically hide the rectangle and everything that was inside of it. You should also see a “+” next to the “Report Details” textbox that will allow you to unhide the rectangle if you click on it. The finished example should look similar to the following when initially run

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And then once expanded:

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You would probably want to add some additional formatting like perhaps a border around the rectangle or maybe even change the background, but I’ll leave the formatting choices up to you. This information can be invaluable to users viewing the report, particularly if the report involves complex calculations. After all, a report that is being misinterpreted can be even worse than having no report at all, and adding a details section to your report can go a long way in helping to clarify what it being shown. Happy reporting!